Research in the Waldie Group
The Waldie Group is interested in the rational design of molecular catalysts and supramolecular structures with targeted reactivity for renewable energy applications. We apply concepts from synthetic inorganic and organometallic chemistry coupled with electrochemical and spectroscopic techniques to prepare, understand, and optimize these systems and their reactivity.
Reactivity of Transition Metal Hydrides
Transition metal hydrides are key intermediates in many catalytic reactions including H2 evolution (HER) and CO2 reduction (CO2RR). The ability of these species to donate a hydride (i.e. their hydricity) is often the determining factor for their reactivity. We are investigating the kinetic and thermodynamic hydricities of new metal hydride structures in order to gain a better understanding of how we can control the reactivity of this class of compounds and to guide the design of improved catalytic systems.
Electro-oxidation of Liquid Fuels
Carbon-based fuels such as formic acid and methanol would offer several advantages over H2 in fuel cells, including ease of handling and higher energy densities. As such, efficient and selective electrochemical oxidation of these liquid fuels is an important challenge. We are developing molecular catalysts using earth abundant metals with functional ligands to facilitate the multiple proton & electron transfers needed for the chemical dehydrogenation and electrocatalytic oxidation of formate and methanol.
Conductive Metal Organic Frameworks
Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) that exhibit electrical conductivity have emerged as an exciting field with potential applications in molecular electronics. We are designing new conductive MOFs that incorporate light-responsive groups as the organic linkers in order to control the bulk conductivity of the material via application of an external light source. These novel functional materials are of interest for optoelectronic devices and optically-switchable catalysis.